Medicare enrollment deadline extended

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Medicare enrollment period has been extended until Dec. 31, for senior citizens residing in counties in Southern Mississippi, which includes Pearl River County.

According to a press release from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, senior citizens affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have received an extended deadline to choose a Medicare plan for 2018.

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This extended enrollment period will allow anyone affected by these natural disasters to enroll, cancel or switch their Medicare health or prescription drug plans, Dr. James M. Riser said.

Many citizens are unaware that they have an option to also select a secondary plan and prescription insurance, which is referred to as plan B and D, Riser said.

Secondary insurance helps people cover costs their Medicare plan will not cover.

When visiting the doctor, Medicare will only pay a percentage of the bill. If an individual does not have secondary coverage, the amount not covered by Medicare will come out of pocket, Riser said.

Prescription insurance, or plan D, helps citizens pay for their prescriptions.

There is also a third option, plan C.

“These plans are offered by private companies approved by Medicare,” Dr. Riser said. “When you sign up for a replacement plan, you can only go to doctors, health care providers or hospitals in the plan’s network. You don’t have the opportunity of going anywhere as you would if you sign up for original Medicare, or plan A.”

To learn more about Medicare plans, visit